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School Meals

NSLP Afterschool Snack Service: Frequently Asked Questions

Last Published: 09/26/2017

1) What is the NSLP Afterschool Snack Service?

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) Afterschool Snack Service is a federally-assisted snack service that provides cash reimbursement to encourage or assist schools in serving snacks to children after the regular school day. The afterschool snack component of the NSLP helps children fully engage in afterschool programming by filling the hunger gap many children face in the afternoon and early evening. Children participating in an approved afterschool care program age 18 and under, and participating children who turn 19 during the school year, are eligible to receive reimbursable snacks through the NSLP.

2) Who administers the NSLP Afterschool Snack Service?

The NSLP Afterschool Snack Service is administered on the Federal level by the Food and Nutrition Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Within individual states, it is administered by state agencies, which operate the snack service through agreements with local school food authorities (SFAs). SFAs are ultimately responsible for the administration of the snack service.

3) What are the requirements for sites to participate?

The SFA must participate in the NSLP lunch component in order for a site operated by the SFA to operate the NSLP Afterschool Snack Service. Additionally, the site must sponsor or operate an approved afterschool care program to be eligible (see question 4).

4) What types of afterschool care programs are eligible?

In order to participate in the NSLP Afterschool Snack Service, the afterschool care program must:

  • Primarily provide care for children after school;
  • Have organized, regularly scheduled activities in a structured and supervised environment; and
  • Include education or enrichment activities, distinct from any extracurricular programs organized primarily for scholastic, cultural or athletic purposes.

Examples of eligible education or enrichment activities include: homework assistance, tutoring, supervised “drop-in” athletic programs, extended day programs, drama activities, and arts and crafts programs. Organized interscholastic programs or community-level competitive sports are not eligible to participate. State agencies can provide further information regarding afterschool care program eligibility.

5) What are the nutritional requirements for the snack service?

Snacks served through the NSLP Afterschool Snack Service must include full servings of two of any of the following four food components:

  • Fluid milk.
  • Meat or meat alternate.
  • Vegetable or fruit, or full-strength vegetable or fruit juice.
  • Whole-grain or enriched bread (or an equivalent serving of a bread product) or a serving of cooked whole-grain or enriched pasta or noodle products.

Juice must not be served when fluid milk is served as the only other component.

6) What are the snack reimbursement rates?

State agencies reimburse SFAs for snacks in accordance with the reimbursement rates prescribed by FNS. The reimbursement rates are adjusted annually.

Snacks served in afterschool care programs that are area eligible will be reimbursed at the free rate, regardless of an individual student’s eligibility for free or reduced price lunches. Snacks served in afterschool care programs that are not area eligible will be reimbursed at the free, reduced price, and paid rate depending on each individual child’s eligibility status.

7) How do sites establish area eligibility?

An afterschool care program site is area eligible if it is located at a school or in the attendance area of a school where at least 50 percent of the enrolled children are eligible for free or reduced price meals. For example, if a high school with less than 50 percent free or reduced price school enrollment is located in the attendance area of a middle school with 50 percent or more of the enrolled children eligible for free or reduced price meals, then the afterschool care program located in the high school would be area eligible. For more information, see: SP 08-2017, CACFP 04-2017, SFSP 03-2017: Area Eligibility in the Child Nutrition Programs, December 1, 2016.

8) How is eligibility determined at sites that are not area eligible?

Sites that are not area eligible must document participating children’s individual eligibility status. In most cases, children participating in the NSLP Afterschool Snack Service will have an eligibility determination for the NSLP. The SFA sponsoring the afterschool care program could use participating children’s eligibility status for the NSLP to document individual eligibility for the snack service. If an approved free or reduced price application or direct certification match is not on file for a child, the SFA will earn the paid rate of reimbursement for snacks served to that child unless the child’s household applies and is approved for free or reduced price benefits.

9) How do SFAs apply to participate in the NSLP Afterschool Snack Service?

The State agency must establish application procedures for interested SFAs and is responsible for determining whether SFAs meet participation requirements. State agency contacts are listed on the FNS site.

10) What records must be maintained?

Area eligible sites must record and report the total number of snacks served each day. Non-area eligible sites must record and report the number of snacks served each day by category of reimbursement (i.e., free, reduced price, or paid). Area eligible sites must maintain documentation to demonstrate area eligibility. All sites must maintain documentation of compliance with the meal pattern.

11) Are other snack programs available for afterschool programs that are not eligible under the NSLP Afterschool Snack Services?

Community-based programs that offer enrichment activities for at-risk children and youth, age 18 and under, after th regular school day ends, can provide free meals and snacks through the CACFP. The “At-Risk Afterschool Meals” component of the CACFP must be offered in areas where at least 50 percent of enrolled children are eligible for free or reduced price meals based upon school data. For more information, please visit the CACFP Afterschool Programs.